Satish Sharma

Ultra running as an adventure sport is becoming popular all over the globe. It is different from other normal races as an ultra runner runs very long distances or competes in races that are longer than usual races. It is organised on the fields, mountains and in rough terrains. It tests the grit, will power, determination and endurance of the person.

In India scores of people have taken up ultra running. Sumit Kumar Singh of Rourkela is one such person who has taken it very passionately.  In fact Sumit is the first ultra runner from the steel city Rourkela. His love for ultra running grew so rapidly that he has attempted to achieve a new milestone unheard so far, of running 30 full marathons (42.5km) in 30 days. In fact he ran 33 full marathons between 25th April to 24th May at Uditnagar stadium.

On a couple of days he ran two marathons and on the concluding day he ran for 17 hours to complete three marathons at the Birsa Munda Stadium. During the period he ran total 1400 kms. He has applied to Gunnies Book of World Records to record his feat. Gunnies Book has assured him that after verifying the facts they would acknowledgement it.

Sumit feel little disappointed at the inordinate delay by Gunnies Book. But it has not affected his spirit. He believes in moving on without bothering for acknowledgement. But International Book of Records has recognized this record.

33 year old Sumit was a casual sports lover during his student days when he tried his hands in every sport from cricket, football to athletics. But long distance walk race attracted him most. He represented the district team in 5km, 10km and 20km walk racing. Of late he developed a liking for ultra running. Last year for the first time he participated in a competition in half marathon at Kolkata. In second competition at Chandigarh Tuffman Stadium he ran 48 km stadium run in 6 hrs.

There he met famous ultra runner Arun Bharadwaj who was impressed with Sumit’s running posture and grit. He encouraged him to continue in the sport and since then he has been running. His competitions include some tough races like world’s highest marathon at Ladakh , high altitude 50 km run at Manali, 24 hour stadium run at Chandigarh.

These competitions have made him stronger and tougher. Moreover competitions have also brought a sea change in his attitude He says “Until now I was running for my own satisfaction. Finishing the race remained my sole objective. But now I want to focus on winning the races to stand on the podium.

Talking about this newer sport in Odisha he says it is yet to pickup in the state. Money is a big constraint. Participation in competitions is expensive. Training shoes and kit needs lot of money. Without sponsors its growth is challenging. So not many people are taking it in Odisha. State Government should adopt this sport and to encourage long running should organise full length marathon races in the state.”

Sanjay Babuta  a sports organisor remarked about him ” It was amazing to see him running such arduous long distances. it was a new experience for many of us. Definitely his feat will inspire many to venture into this sport.”  His Surat based online coach Sandeep Kumar believes in his ability. “Sumit  has ability and resolve to become elite runner”. He said.

Subhash Verma, a city journalist says,” It was unbelievable to see a person running hours together every day.” In the coming months Sumit has planned to participate in Vedanta Half marathon at Delhi and a border race of 160 km in Jaisalmer. He has also set his eyes on to become elite runner and to represent the country in global events and win them. Sumit thanks his family and well wishers to maintain his spirit and motivation to stay and dream big in ultra running.

(The author is a Sr. Sports Journalist from Rourkela, India)